“Les Nôtres” is a film directed and co-written by Jeanne Leblanc, presented in 2020 in several festivals such as the Nashville Film Festival or the Raindance Film Festival. After several short films, this is the second feature film of Jeanne Leblanc, who was director of “Isla Blanca” in 2018. The film is available since June 18, 2021 in some theaters and on demand.
In “Les Nôtres” we witness the story of Magalie (played by Emilie Bierre), a young girl of thirteen years old, whose life will be profoundly changed by a mysterious pregnancy. Magalie lives in Saint-Adeline, a small Quebec community that was devastated by a tragic factory accident in which Magalie lost her father.
Around Magalie, there is her mother Isabelle (played by Marianne Farley), who seems to be totally overwhelmed and who can no longer communicate with her daughter. We also find a couple of friends composed by Jean-Marc (played by Paul Doucet) and his wife Chantal (played by Judith Baribeau), whose adopted son, Manuel (played by Léon Diconca-Pelletier) is quickly designed as the father of the future child.
All these characters take place in the town of Saint-Adeline, in which there is still a feeling of communitarianism leading to racism, especially towards the adopted children of the mayor. The event of this pregnancy is therefore a major event for this community, which everyone will talk about very quickly.
But we soon learn that the baby’s father is none other than Jean-Marc, the mayor of Saint-Adeline, a man in his fifties, loved and respected by his community. From that moment on, Jean-Marc will do everything possible to keep his act secret
The film then becomes much darker and deals with the theme of the unhealthy domination that a malicious adult can exert on a child, how he can abuse his age or his hierarchical position to manipulate such a fragile mind. This same theme can be found in Charlène Favier’s recent film “Slalom” also in French language. The film shows us that evil can come from anywhere even from respected people, who seem to be above any suspicion. But it also focus on the importance of listening to children in this kind of situation.
We witness a situation where the evil is already done, powerless in front of the consequences of a terrible and unforgivable act. The different actors are very gifted, especially Emilie Bierre, a very young actress who interprets to perfection the role of a teenager, betrayed, abandoned, who struggles to express herself in front of a situation that should not exist. Marianne Farley as Magalie’s mother is also excellent.
Some passages, almost silent, reveal the heaviness of the sequences and the difficulty for Magalie to really communicate about her situation.
We could criticize the film for not really focusing on Magalie’s character and her emotions or more globally on teenagers’ feelings. Indeed, the film seems to focus more on the adults’ vision of this situation. But despite this, the film keeps a real interest and works very well.
“Les Nôtres” is a very interesting film which deals with a very important and serious subject, which benefits from excellent acting, good writing and superb photography.
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